Abdominoplasty Post-Op Instructions


  • You will see your physician approximately five to seven days following your surgery.
  • You will feel immediate tightness of the skin and muscles. There should be mild diffuse swelling, general soreness to moderate pain, and increased pain with getting up and down. You may have bulb drains – they should have watery pink to red drainage. Your appetite will be decreased. You may walk bent over depending on how elastic your tissues are. There will be numbness of the lower abdominal skin. You may have mild temperature elevation.
  • You may become constipated due to the pain medications and should begin a stool softener (i.e. Colace) after surgery. In addition, you may want to add a fiber supplement (Metamucil, Citrucel, etc.) after tolerating a diet to decrease straining. If you have gone several days without a bowel movement and are feeling uncomfortable, you may want to consider using a glycerin suppository or Fleet’s enema (available at all drug stores).
  • Sutures are dissolvable. They are under your skin and released at the end of each incision. They are clear in appearance and will be trimmed to the skin line at your first postop appointment.


  • Take frequent short walks to help your circulation and to decrease the risk of blood clot formation in the legs. Walking also helps your breathing. Take frequent deep breaths. Drink abundant clear fluids. You may eat solids if you are hungry – light fare at first.
  • Do not take your pain medications on an empty stomach. Eat a light snack, such as crackers, about 30 minutes before you take your medication.
  • Do not drive or operate machinery while you are taking your narcotic pain medication. If you are still taking narcotics by the time of your first postop appointment, then have someone drive you to your appointment.
  • If you have drains, keep track of the drainage by charting the volume; empty and compress bulbs after recording volume. Apply antibiotic ointment to the drain exit sites three times daily (Polysporin, Neosporin, or Bacitracin). See drain care instruction sheet for further information.
  • Wear the binder for comfort and compression, if it restricts your breathing you may loosen it.
  • You may shower; blot dressings dry and replace the binder after showering. You may reinforce the dressings if there is drainage from the wounds.
  • If you had liposuction with your tummy tuck, do not shower – keep the compression and foam pads on until removed by a staff nurse or doctor (usually 5-7 days postop).
  • If a Venapro leg compression device is prescribed to you for prevention of blood clots, use except when up and walking.


  • No heavy lifting (greater than 25 lbs), vigorous activity, or straining for three weeks.
  • No rotational activities, (racquet sports, golf, vacuum cleaning) for three months if your muscles were tightened. If your muscles were not tightened, you may return to these activities at around three weeks postop.
  • No tub bathing until incisions are well healed or cleared by the doctor.
  • Do not use heating pads.


  • If you develop severe shortness of breath or chest pain – call 911, then notify your doctor.
  • If you run a fever, or have chills – call our office.
  • If you have markedly increased pain, bruising, swelling or bloody drainage– call our office.
  • If you develop leg swelling or pain – call our office.
  • If you have persistent nausea or vomiting – call our office.
  • If you are uncertain about a medication or treatment – call our office.
  • If you are experiencing any adverse symptoms or changes that you do not understand – call our office.